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JAMAICA: Culture

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PEOPLE

It is estimated that nearly 750,000 enslaved persons were brought to Jamaica between 1655 and 1807 (about 200,000 were then sent to the Spanish isles). The slaves came primarily from the west coast of Africa, mostly from the Gold Coast (now Ghana) and Biafra (now primarily Nigeria).

In addition, many immigrants arrived from elsewhere around the globe. After the abolition of slavery in 1834, workers were brought in from other countries as Jamaica looked for sources of income besides sugar. Workers from Germany, Ireland and Scotland came for a while (and one community, Seaford Town, is filled with descendants of these German settlers). Asian immigrants came from India and China and eventually workers came from what is now Lebanon (although throughout Jamaica they are referred to as “Syrians.”)

Today, 92% of Jamaica’s residents are of Black African descent. East Indians and African-East Indians make up about 3.4% of the population, while Caucasians represent about 3.2%. Chinese and African-Chinese residents compose a little over 1% of the population.

You can use your international cellular phone rental to get closer to the people of Jamaica.

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